Tucked away on Spain’s Mediterranean coast and with an impressive fortress, a 16th-century cathedral and a multitude of museums and galleries, Almeria is Andalusia’s most underrated city.
In the historic centre, a statue of John Lennon marks his stay here in 1966, when he filmed satirical comedy How I Won The War.
Drinks in many bars come with free tapas, making it a great budget choice.
Tucked away on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Almeria is Andalusia’s most underrated city
Where to stay
Hotel Catedral Almeria
Standing next to the cathedral, this boutique hotel in a former gothic mansion retains some original features and offers 20 spacious rooms.
B&B doubles from £84, hotelcatedral.net.
Hotel Nuevo Torreluz
Centrally located in pretty Plaza Flores, this 98-room hotel is great value. Its spacious rooms have wooden floors and neutral soft furnishings. There’s a bar with traditional Spanish tiles and wooden beams.
B&B doubles from £60, torreluz.com.
Aire Hotel and Ancient Baths
Aire Hotel and Ancient Baths has 22 stylish rooms with wooden floors, crisp, white bedding and black and white prints
Aire Hotel and Ancient Baths has a restored Ancient Arabic baths and spa (above)
This charming small hotel, in a converted 19th-century property in the main square, has 22 stylish rooms with wooden floors, crisp, white bedding and black and white prints. There’s a restored Ancient Arabic baths and spa, plus a roof terrace and pool.
B&B doubles from £83, airehotelalmeria.com.
Murallas de Jayran Boutique Hotel
An adults-only hotel in an old townhouse, which has six rooms with king-size beds. Each room has its own style, from Arabic to industrial. There’s a shabby-chic lounge and a rooftop plunge pool.
Doubles from £67, plus breakfast, murallasdejayranhotelboutique.com.
What to see and do
Check out the cathedral
Almeria’s cathedral has towers, battlements and turrets built as a defence against Berber pirates
The 16th-century fortified cathedral combines gothic, renaissance and baroque styles. Its towers, battlements and turrets were built as a defence against Berber pirates. Entry £4.20, turismodealmeria.org.
The name Almeria is derived from Al-Mariy-yat (watchtower) — the Arabic name for the tenth-century Alcazaba (fortress) above the city. Hit by earthquakes in the 1500s, the ruined original palace lies within reconstructed walls and towers. There are courtyards and gardens to explore. Free entry, turismodealmeria.org.
Head for the House of Cinema
Almeria is a popular film location. A Fistful Of Dollars, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade and Game Of Thrones were shot here. The Almeria House of Cinema — in the mansion where John Lennon stayed — charts the area’s cinematic history. Entry £2.50, almeriacultura.com.
Dedicated to Antonio de Torres — a local 19th-century acoustic guitar pioneer — the museum also has a hall of fame featuring rock ’n’ roll’s Jimi Hendrix, Santana and others. Visitors can try out guitars here. Entry £2.50, almeriaciudad.es.
Take a walk on the mild side
Nicolas Salmeron Park, above, is a great place to head to for a stroll
Stroll amid palm trees and pools in the Nicolas Salmeron Park, then along the Paseo de Maritimo to the San Miguel and Zapillo beaches.
Where to eat
A traditional tapas bar that’s more than 150 years old. Specialities include lomo a la orza (pork with garlic and herbs) and bacon, date and cheese pie. A plate of gambas al pil pil (chilli, garlic prawns) costs £13.50. barcasapuga.es.
An unassuming little bar renowned for its patatas bravas — fried potato in spicy tomato sauce — a full-size portion costs £10.10. Be sure to try the cuttlefish and pork loin, too. An extra tapa (the first is free with your drink) costs £1.50.
Address: Calle de Granada 14, 04003.
For patatas bravas (above, stock image) – fried potato in spicy tomato sauce – try Bar Bonillo
El Quinto Toro
Lunch like the locals at this friendly bar with patatas a lo pobre con huevo frito —fried, sliced potatoes, garlic and onion, topped with a fried egg (£6.30). The octopus in garlic mayonnaise is delicious, too. You can sample the dish of the day for £5.90.
Address: Calle Juan Leal 6, 04001.
This busy little bar with modern decor is popular with locals and tourists alike — it offers traditional Andalusian fare, plus more inventive dishes such as deep-fried cheese with popping candy and caramelised apple. Tapas, such as ribs in barbecue sauce and cod in tomato and pepper sauce with a glass of white wine, cost £3.65.
Address: Calle Jovellanos 16 Local 1, 04003.
How to get there
Easyjet has returns from Gatwick to Almeria from £62 (easyjet.com). Buses run from Almeria airport to the city every 35 minutes. The journey takes 35 minutes and costs 89p (surbusalmeria.es).